Category Archives: General

Celebration of Clay Article in Rio Grande Sun

Bob Eckert, the arts editor of the Rio Grande Sun, has written a great article about the 2014 Celebration of Clay exhibition.  The article appeared in this weekly Espanola newspaper on July 24, 2014.  Our annual exhibition of member work is showing at Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico from July 1 to July 31, 2014.  Details available on the Celebration of Clay website.   Bob’s article contains a resounding positive recommendation for the show:

Although there were a limited number of awards, the “Water for Life” show is a full-bodies exhibit that features work from a number of really talented artists.  … This is a very worthwhile show to attend that won’t be up much longer, so no procrastinating on your part.

See the article in it’s entirety in your pdf viewer.

Meet Debra Fritts

I moved to Abiquiu, New Mexico full time two years ago. Knowing  that the environment should inform one’s artwork, I am bursting with new images, thoughts and inspirations. I am listening to the land and allowing my intuitive reactions to transfer the clay sculpture to a spiritual and meaningful level. I feel fortunate to be able to embrace this beautiful area. My days are spent in the studio working or teaching workshops. I am teaching week workshops at my studio in Abiquiu and will be teaching at Anderson Ranch and Taos Clay this summer. I also offer a class once a week. I encourage creative thinking with students.

My sculptural pieces are mainly coil built and are multiple fired to achieve a painterly quality with slips, oxides, underglazes and glazes. I want to feel mystery and to have questions in my finished work.

Member since 2012

River of Peace Update

Barbara Campbell, Dean Schroeder, Nancy Brandt, and Judy Nelson-Moore spent March 13-16 at Ghost Ranch applying the decals on the mural.  It is exciting to see the final vision emerging.

River of Peace Words

I’ve just spent 4 days preparing the decals to apply to the River of Peace.  We received more than 130 submissions from all over the world…Peoples intentions, prayers, poems and quotes about Peace and the environment.  We are weaving these into a “River of Peace” on the ceramic mural to be installed at Ghost Ranch.  Here are pictures of one of the 6 symbol decal pages and one of the 24 word decal pages:

Symbol Composite Page for Decals Word Composite Page for Decals

Meet Sharbani Das Gupta

I have been described as an activist artist.Yet I have more than one motivation; to explore the invisible links of life, to voice a concern for the human state, to delight in the earth. I draw freely from the mythology of the world combining visual and literary idioms with sculptural forms that address issues that span the personal and the environmental. Living between India and the US, allows me a valued perspective as an observer while providing a cross-cultural platform on which to interact; the differences only underscore the need for balance and understanding in an uneven world.

In Dinner with King Midas, I use the myth of Midas to comment on increasingly unsustainable and inhumane methods of modern food production. The bones of a mutated fish is the center piece, the food inedible, the visual seductive, but ultimately barren.

It is my hope that art, with its ability to reveal reality, breach boundaries and disclose the unseen, may yet make a difference. The Native Americans have said: ‘We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children’. It is with this consciousness that I try to create, communicate, and have a voice.

Member since 2007


Artists and Copyrights: Another Perspective

Our NMPCA Newsletter Editor, Christina Sullo, published an article about rules to avoid violating copyrights of other artists, which was reprinted with permission from the Corrales Society of Artists.  We posted this article to the blog here to facilitate discussion. This Post contains another point of view.

250px-marcel_duchamp_mona_lisa_lhooqThe Corrales Society of Artists article does not take into account the the widespread discussion about this topic nor the many modes of expression in the visual arts. One small example is this blogpost by Kathryn V. Williams, blogging as funnypumpkin, showing an example of an artwork that I believe would violate the “do not” rules in the article, but which is considered a valid derivative art work by Marcel Duchamps, pictured at left.   Another blogpost by Mike Masnick contains some comments about  about the source of creative ideas and the relationship to “copyright law.”  While viewing blogposts can be interesting, I don’t think we will be living our lives according to what we read there, but it does stimulate our thinking.

OK, so we are ceramic artists here.  What might this copyright violation look like.  Perhaps I go to a fair and see something that I fall in love with…and I don’t have the money to buy it.  But being a reasonably competent ceramic artist, I decide to make one for myself.  So, I copy the shape of the bowl or the look of the figurative sculpture.  Chances are great that I can’t get a duplicate glaze or firing effect, but suppose that I do come up with a creation that looks enough like the original that a reasonable viewer might think it was made by the other person.  Now, this doesn’t really become an issue until I decide that the copy was so successful that I am going to sell it and/or make more of them to sell.  At that point, yes, I think the copies violate the rights of the original artist.  Note that the motivation to create the copies was to reproduce the creative work of another person.

In looking at ceramics, I often see work that is so similar to other work that you have seen that I have to read the credit carefully to determine who make it.   More often, I will see a certain style, glaze surface, or angle of work that makes me think there might have been common sources or direct influence.  Does it make me want to buy the cheaper work?  No, but then I have seen other people buy similar pots when they could not afford the original.

Let’s consider a more common scenario.  As noted in the previous blogpost, creativity nearly always involves building upon ideas we have been influenced by.  He says:  “Art never springs entirely from 100% original thought. It’s an amalgamation of what else is out there — put together in a new way. What’s even more ridiculous is that, in almost every one of these cases, it’s difficult to see how the “original” complaining artist is even remotely “harmed” by the follow-on artists. If anything, it’s likely that the later art would only draw more attention to the original artist.”

There is a strong current of borrowed ideas running through all our work.  It is just the way the creative brain works!  I have a book titled “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon.  He points out that if people call something “original” that they probably just don’t know the original sources.

I have a story about this idea.  Here is a scan of the postcaGrettFriendman1994Geminird image for a 1994 show at David Rettig Fine Arts in Santa Fe.  The artist, pictured next to the work, is Grett Friedman, now deceased, who was a member of the NMPCA.  Grett had this piece fabricated for her from a much smaller, two piece clay sculpture.  Years later, in the 2000’s, I was visiting with another member of the NMPCA (who had never met Grett) and who moved to Santa Fe from Texas.  He made very large wonderful sculptures.  I saw a sculpture of his in his yard that he had made from clay that was a twin of this piece.  It was about 1/2 to 2/3 the height of her metal fabrication, made from clay in multiple sections vertically, but was so strikingly similar, including the angle at the top of the two pieces, that I was stopped in my tracks.  Grett was already deceased, so I don’t know the source of her work, but I talked to the other artist and determined that he could never have seen Grett’s work.  As I remember it, his work predated hers, but it had never been shown publicly, so that Grett could not have copied it.  I can only conclude that both were inspired by some other work that they didn’t remember.

Nelson-Moore_LandscapeAnd, here is an example of derivative art from my own work.  In 2011 and 2012, I created a few of these works that I call collage sculptures.  The imagery on this one at left consists of a collage of 5 landsat photos (which are published on the internet).  I think there is clearly no copyright issue here, because the source photos are explicitly without copyright and are placed on the internet in a context to invite incorporation into other art.  However, this next imageNelson-Moore_L might be more questioned.  It consists of collage images taken from photographs of Arizona rock formations off the internet and greatly modified and distorted images of paintings.  The impetus for this work was clearly NOT to copy the original photographs or paintings.  I feel it is a valid work of art that does not violate any copyrights.  What do you think?

Judy Nelson-Moore

Artists and Copyrights: The Article

The article below appears in the January 2014 issue of the NMPCA Slip Trail newsletter, reprinted with permission from Corrales Society of Artists. Realizing that this is possibly a controversial issue, we invite your thoughtful comments to further the discussion here on this blog post. Read down and then post your comments at the bottom.

As artists, we’ve all been faced with the individual that diminishes the effort that it takes to create art or believes that they can duplicate or reproduce our work. Some of us have overheard visitors at our booth say, “I could do that.” Or, someone will take pictures of your work for refer-ence. (Editor’s note: I remember my first big juried show in New Mexico; I had someone come into my booth and do both, in one felled swoop! She walked in the booth, pulled out her camera and took a picture of a difficult handmade paper piece and said, “I can do that, I just need a picture for “reference” and walked away before I could respond!)

According to an article on, “When a group of artists were asked how to respond to this type of com-ment (situation), there were just as many responses as art-ists polled. But, basically, they were grouped into two schools of thought.

“One group holds that no one can duplicate another per-sons’ work. They can take the same subject matter, transfer it to a canvas, using the same medium as the original creator, but because the two individuals are entirely different people, with different skill sets and experiences, no two outcomes will be exactly alike. There may be similarities but each stroke of the brush will have a different depth, strength and length; color will vary and, most importantly, the soul of the art cannot be replicated. This group of artists, how-ever, also acknowledges that there are professional craftsmen whose role is to duplicate masters’ works–counterfeiters whose skills and abilities can fool even the most seasoned museum curator. But, we are not usually referring to this level of skilled individual. This group also holds that imitation is a form of flattery and they turn their heads the other way. “The second school of thought, holds that it is copyright infringement, outright theft. The problem is how do you punish or stop the ‘thief,’ especially in this digital age? According to the copyright laws of the U.S., the moment you create anything visual—paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, etc., the work is automatically covered by copyright. While not required, you should get in the habit of putting the copyright symbol, your name and the year the art was produced somewhere on your art.” Many artists put a copyright symbol, their name and the year the work was created on the art work; however, by law, it isn’t necessary. The artist still owns the copyright, even without using the copyright symbol. If anyone copies your work and/or sells it with-out your written permission, you can take them to court and sue for damages; however, it is more difficult if you haven’t registered your copyright with the U.S. Library of Congress Copyright Office. The benefit of taking this additional step is that it creates a public record of the copyright, which may be required to prove infringement in court. What many artists do not realize is that they still hold the copyright to their work after it is sold. The buyer cannot make or sell copies of the art unless you’ve provided permission in writing. And, according to U.S. copyright laws, your family or legal heirs will continue to own the copyright to your work for 70 years after your death. Stay informed. For more information about copyright laws, visit or consult an attorney specializing in copyright laws.
Editors Note: Both and have great articles and tips, including product reviews, and resource links for budding and professional artists on their respective websites. Be sure to check these sites out for more information on copyrights and other valuable topics.

Art, Photography and Copyright Guidelines

The law states that, “Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.” This protection includes authorship of photographs. When a photo-graph has been published it cannot be copied except with the ex-press permission of the owner of the photograph. It is a violation of copyright law to prepare derivative works based upon the copy-righted work. It is also important to note that works do not have to bear the copyright symbol to be protected. “Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is created when it is fixed in a copy or photo record for the first time.” The copyright protection extends “from the moment of its creation, and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author’s life, plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death”… “for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copy-right will be 75 years from publication or 100 years from creation, whichever is shorter.” Transfers of copyright are normally done through contract. An artist or photographer may sell his or her copyright in various forms, including first use, one-time use, limited use, or unrestricted use. It is then legal to use the work, but only under the terms of the contract. Here are the guidelines as most professional artists practice them: • DO NOT– copy someone else’s photograph to create a work of art. • DO NOT– copy a picture that has been printed in any form including book, magazine, etc. • DO NOT– copy a major part of a photograph (an animal, for instance) and place it in a different setting. This is a “grey” legal area, but it is still considered unethical by most professional artists. • OK – to copy your own photograph to create a work of art. • OK – to copy works that have exceeded the time limits for copyright protection. References: Copyright Basics Circular 1, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC. 1995;,, and

Ghost Ranch River of Peace

Ghost Ranch is building a Peace Garden.  The idea emerged as staff and faculty at the Ranch were discussing how to honor recently deceased staff members with something that would have a lasting impact.  Tom Nichols designed the garden.  The location is just outside the Lower Pavilion, down the hill from the Office and next door to the Museum.  The Garden has been started and can be visited now.  The mural described in this post will be installed in the Spring of 2014.

The elements that make up the Interfaith Peace Garden include a peace pole (and history), a fountain (with rain harvesting and solar power), stone sculpture, path with spirals, Reflexology path, a mural, and seating areas for reflection.

Ceramic Mural for the Peace Garden

Barbara Campbell, the Ghost Ranch coordination for the NMPCA and also a volunteer Ghost Ranch staff person in charge of the ceramic studio, Pot Hollow, was invited to create the mural to be made out of ceramic tiles.  Her design is 30 feet long and varies from two to 6 feet tall.  The Ranch asked that religious symbols from traditions all over the world be included in the mural.  Barbara’s concept was to incorporate these symbols through fired laser decal imagery.  As testing proceeding, a wonderful idea emerged.  We decided to make the background of the religious symbols hand-written text, soliciting entries from as many people as we could and getting as much variety:  poems, prayers, writings in different languages and from different cultural traditions.  We decided to call this the “River of Peace” as the writings would be arranged on the 30 foot long mural in a flowing design.

How to participate in the River of Peace

Send your hand-written poems, prayers or other writings written in black ink on 1/2 sheet of 8.5 x 11″ white paper to:  Judy Nelson-Moore, 23 Immanuel, Santa Fe, NM  87508
or scan and email to:  The deadline is December 25, 2013.

Here are a few pictures of the mural work so far:

Tom Nichols describes the elements of the Peace Garden

(Tom is the co-coordinator of the metal arts program at the ranch and was primarily involved in designing the Peace Garden)

An Ancient Tradition – PEACE GARDEN HISTORY

The concept of a Peace Garden is derived from the ancient tradition of the Greek, Viking and Gaelic peoples. Warring factions were encouraged to resolve their conflicts in a peace grove, known as “Bosco Sacro” or ‘a place of peace.’ Each peace grove had 12 trees, grown in an oval and was symbolic of the life and creativity that thrives in peace. Before entering, weapons were left outside and conflict resolution was aided by a neutral third party who would act as a go-between.


Peace Poles, located on all the continents in 180 countries around the world, each display the message and prayer above in many different languages. They symbolize the hopes and dreams of the entire human family, standing vigil in silent prayer for peace on earth. They are dedicated as monuments to peace and serve as reminders for everyone to visualize and pray for peace.

Stone Cairn – INUKSHUK  (In-ook-shook)

Lifelike figures of stone erected by Inuit people throughout Millennia, INUKSHUK means ‘in the image of man’. Unique to the Canadian Arctic, these powerful stone cairns point the way back to the Arctic Ocean and are as equally worthy of the recognition and admiration bestowed upon England’s Stonehenge and the Stone Faces of Easter Island. Now in the Third Millennium, they stand as eternal symbols of leadership, encouraging the importance of friendship and reminding us of our dependence on one another.

Memorial Fountain – FALLING TEARS

The Memorial Fountain was made to honor the memory of the many Ghost Ranch leaders who have passed on to us the real possibility of peace. Designed and built in the metal sculpture classes at Ghost Ranch during the 2012 Arts Festival using antique, riveted steel irrigation pipe from the ranch and plow disks. The fountain symbolizes tears shed for departed loved ones and Peace flowing for all. It makes a pleasant and soothing musical sound.

How to participate in the River of Peace

Send your hand-written poems, prayers or other writings written in black ink on 1/2 sheet of 8.5 x 11″ white paper to:  Judy Nelson-Moore, 23 Immanuel, Santa Fe, NM  87508
or scan and email to:


Here is a mention of some people who have been instrumental in getting the mural started:

Barbara Campbell, El Rito, New Mexico:  Created the superb design and has knowledge of how to do a big mural, and is providing the most woman-power for the project.
Judy Nelson-Moore, Santa Fe, New Mexico: Assisted with preparing the design, the tiles, testing the surface treatments, painting the terra sigillata, and will prepare the decals.
Dean Schroeder, Mountainair, New Mexico: Assisted in preparing the design, layout of the tiles, drying and loading tiles into kiln, and will be primary on the installation.

July Slip Trail

It’s so hot, that’s all I can think of… so here’s what’s hot in the July Slip Trail:

  • Results (with lots of pictures) of the Ghost Ranch V-Camp
  • Letters from our out-going and in-coming presidents
  • Fabulous article about Potters for Peace
  • Introducing Four New Board Members
  • Celebration of Clay 2012
  • International Academy of Ceramics
  • And much more

Hope you are in a cool place with a cool drink while you read this hot issue.

Christina Sullo, Slip Trail Editor

Click here to read the July Issue in this JooMag viewer that we are trying out.  You can zoom in, zoom out, flip pages, or even download it to your machine to read with your own viewer.  Let us know how you like this viewer.